Breaking News: Popular Cancer Drug Declared More Harmful Than Helpful
Posted By Dr. Mercola | January 07 2011 | 8,258 views
The FDA has said that the controversial drug Avastin should be phased out as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. Recent studies show that its benefits are outweighed by dangerous side effects.
The announcement does not affect Avastin's status as a drug that can be prescribed for lung cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer and brain cancer.
In 2008, the FDA granted Avastin accelerated approval for use to treat metastatic breast cancer. But studies have failed to show that patients getting Avastin lived longer than patients on standard chemotherapies.
According to CNN:
"Along with those disappointing findings, serious side effects became apparent in patients taking Avastin, including high blood pressure, internal bleeding, perforated internal organs, heart failure and heart attacks, and in some cases, even swelling of the brain."
Genentech, which makes Avastin, has a right to appeal the decision.
Folks, the best way of preventing breast cancer isn't a drug at all, and it's free!
Sun exposure may be the single most effective means of reducing breast cancer, thanks to vitamin D, which forms in your body in reaction to sunlight. In a recent study, data collected over a decade from more than 67,000 women showed that women in sunny climes with high vitamin D levels were at a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer!
CNN December 16, 2010
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention December 2, 2010
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Surgery, drugs and radiation are typically the only solutions offered by conventional physicians to treat cancer, and upon receiving a cancer diagnosis most people are willing to do just about anything to get better. This includes taking dangerous and outrageously expensive medications that offer little, if any, benefit.
Case in point: Avastin.
Popular Breast Cancer Drug Proven More Harmful than Helpful
Avastin, which costs about $8,000 a month and is one of the best-selling cancer drugs in the world, is now being phased out in the US due to lack of effectiveness and dangerous side effects.
As reported by CNN, the FDA has deemed the drug to be more harmful than beneficial based on recent studies, and recommends phasing it out as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer.
The drug will still maintain its status as an approved therapy for lung-, kidney-, colorectal- and brain cancer, however.
The European Medicines Agency is also altering its recommendation, but rather than withdrawing approval entirely, Avastin will now only be prescribed in combination with the drug Paclitaxel for the treatment of breast cancer in the EU.
"Along with the initial approval, the FDA required Genentech, Avastin's maker, to complete larger studies. The results of those studies were a bitter pill for patients thriving on Avastin and researchers excited by the promise of the early data.
The E2100 study found that for women taking Avastin plus Paclitaxel, the cancer stopped spreading for an average of five-and-a-half months more, compared to those just taking standard chemotherapy.
In the subsequent three larger studies, the benefit was much smaller, ranging from just 24 days to about two months.
None of the studies, including the E2100 study, showed that patients getting Avastin lived longer than patients on standard chemotherapies. "We now have four studies that show no survival benefit," Woodcock said."
Serious side effects from the drug have also become apparent, including:
* High blood pressure
* Internal bleeding
* Perforated internal organs
* Heart failure
* Heart attacks
* Swelling of the brain
Avastin isn't the only popular cancer drug that's come on the chopping block in recent years.
For example, in 2009 it was determined that long-term use of the common breast cancer drug Tamoxifen could increase your risk of developing a deadly second tumor.
Chemotherapy—Cancer Patients' Friend or Foe?
Chemo is another cancer treatment that frequently does more harm than good, although I doubt we'll see recommendations changing on its use anytime soon. As poor a choice as it is, it's one of the most popular treatment strategies conventional medicine has been able to conjure.
But despite its reputation as the gold-standard in cancer treatment, chemotherapy has an average 5-year survival success rate of just over 2 percent for all cancers, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Oncology in December 2004.
Another study, The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD), found that more than four in 10 patients who received chemotherapy toward the end of life experienced potentially fatal effects. And after reviewing data from over 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of receiving treatment, it was found that chemotherapy hastened or caused death in 27 percent of those cases.
It's important to realize that chemotherapy drugs are, by their very nature, extremely toxic and typically do not work with your body to modulate and normalize its response to allow the cancer to resolve normally and they do absolutely nothing to address the cause of the cancer.
Natural approaches, on the other hand, do not have the types of fatal side effects common with cancer drugs because they work by optimizing your body's own natural healing capacities. And, fortunately, there are natural approaches that rival and/or exceed the limited effectiveness of conventional therapies, without the risks.
The caveat, however, is that you must typically use them preventively.
Two of the most important preventive strategies are vitamin D and diet.